WeTrust [TRST] SAVINGS & INSURANCE PLATFORM
WeTrust Community Update — July 14 2017
Hello folks, WeTrust team here coming at you with our first bi-weekly community update (once every 2 weeks).
We know we’ve been a little slack lately with keeping you guys in the loop about what’s going on, and that’s mainly because we’ve had our heads down since the crowdsale, trying to work out our immediate direction and find some more great people to help us realize that. We’ve taken on board the feedback about providing regular updates, so hopefully this format will be nice and digestible for you all. We’ll try to keep it brief but to the point.
We’re hiring a Product Manager, Software Engineers, and an Office Manager. If you can refer anyone for these positions (and they go on to work for WeTrust for 180 days or more), you’re up for a whopping USD $5000 referral bonus. We’ve been interviewing many talented folks and need your support to refer the best to join us on our mission!
We are currently running a 99designs competition, with a first prize of USD $2799. If you think you can design the best homepage for WeTrust’s website, make sure you get your entries in. Once the design competition closes, we’ll setup a poll and ask YOU for your opinion on the best design and layout that best represents WeTrust.
We’ve had further discussions with Rafa from AhorroLibre and discussing ‘Financial Inclusion Grants’, and are nearing an agreement to help drive Tanda (ROSCA) popularity in Tijuana, Mexico. Details of the collaboration are to be determined shortly, and we’ll make sure to put that up in a separate blog post.
I’ve been helping Hoang out with the phone screening and onsite interviews for potential new Front End Developers, Product Managers, Full Stack Engineers, UI/UX Developers and Office Managers.
I also checked out some larger offices in Palo Alto and Mountain View, the one we’re in currently is a sublet, and can get pretty loud at unexpected times. It’s also a little cramped, and since we’re scaling the team it would be great to have somewhere that we all fit into without touching elbows.
I’ve mapped out a lot of the CoinPool product ideas, and been brainstorming company culture improvements, so that the new old folks feel as comfortable as can be.
I’ve been through over a hundred resumes, whittling them down to a few phone screenings and ultimately on-site interviews. Additionally I’ve worked on new designs for the main website, relaying feedback and translating it into pixels.
I have also begun work on another two WeTrust projects, CoinPool and Catalyst, we’re not saying too much about these just yet but keep your eyes and ears peeled.
I’ve been researching and developing (with my colleagues) a new trading product named ‘Delateral’. Currently we are thoroughly investigating the legal aspects of such a product and looking for an approach that will cooperate WeTrust’s financial inclusion approach whilst abiding by the current regulations. I’ve been very involved in market research for the platform, as well as pulling together the whitepaper, which is almost ready.
The past couple of days I’ve been working on content for the new website. The goal is to communicate clearly and effectively what WeTrust stands for, what our products do, and what we envision for our future as a company. I’ve also been working on a product survey that we’ll be sending out to our community soon, to give us a sense of how to focus certain features of our product.
I’ve been working closely with Cooper, our UI/UX contractor to build out the frontend for our revamped TLC (ROSCA) product. It should be complete within a week. We’ll then work on implementing the rest of backend logic and getting everything plugged in and tested.
I’ve also been exploring options to use ETH addresses to securely login instead of traditional methods (similar to the way https://dapp.lemon.email does it), this way it should save a little effort (you won’t have to type in username/password every time) and it should be a lot more secure, since we’re using message signing to login.
The past couple of weeks I have been working with Mivsam on Delateral. Again unfortunately we can’t say too much more about what it is (thanks, lawyers), as we’re still in the middle of getting legal and regulatory counsel about any public description of the product (and indeed creating it at all).
We have a whitepaper pretty much ready to go, and we’ve done some minor initial development. Hopefully our continued chats with lawyers will be fruitful and we can release some more details in the near future.
Other than that, I’ve interviewed a couple of candidates for developer roles, and one for Product Manager. Stay tuned for news of new hires, and if you know anyone looking to make waves in the crypto/fintech scene, send them here: https://wetrust.workable.com/
I’ve been leading the delateral product development, with my very skilled teammates Brian and Mivsam. As they mentioned, we unfortunately cannot shed too much light on the product yet, but we’re doing a thorough analysis of the market needs (including analysing every single ETH transfer ever) and the regulators, as well as the technical feasibility of the product. Initial results look promising!
I’ve mainly been working on the website revamp, incorporating feedback from the community.
I’m done brainstorming for Catalyst and have created some wireframes, soon I’ll begin to flesh those out and add some colour to ensure they’re on-brand.
We know there have been a lot of teams in the crypto community hit by Slack scammers, people are abusing the Slackbot reminder service to send out phishing messages to other users. We’re sorry this is still taking place, Slack’s response has basically been that we shouldn’t be using it for non-trusted communication. We have looked at a couple of other chatroom-style options for community engagement, but for now we have decided to stick with Slack since it’s where most of our community already hang out, and we’re hoping that most people are getting wise to the scams going round.
That being said, if things get worse and we decide that we need more admin control over the chat environment, we’ll reevaluate a move to another platform and let you know in the next update. Please continue to report scammers to the team in slack, either @blorange or @damo are your best bets for a quick response.
WeTrust Community Update — July 28 2017
Well would you look at that, another fortnight goes by like a cool summer breeze. Here’s the update as promised, including a couple of conferences and a new addition to the roster. We’ll also try to reduce any overlap between our personal updates by switching to updates for each product specifically where possible.
WeTrust participated at NCC2017 in Tokyo organized by MIT Media Lab and Digital Garage, where we led a discussion on the impact of social lending, and explored the possibilities for improving financial inclusion via blockchain tech. WeTrust also established some connections with projects with whom we have potential to collaborate with in the future.
Hiring and our New Office
We’ve been doing a ton of phone screens and onsite interviews these past two weeks. We’ve advanced a number of candidates on both the technical and non-technical areas to the final rounds and are close to closing on a few of them. We’re hoping to beef up our team with new developers and business side support soon (e.g. marketing, administration, event planning) so we can accelerate our development.
We plan on moving to a new office in Downtown Sunnyvale — pending some paperwork and logistics. We’re hoping we can move in within the next couple of weeks. This is really exciting since we will be close to public transportation, which is critical for attracting top talent across the bay area from SF thru San Jose.
Community Management update from Damo
As Community Manager one of my near term priorities is exploring alternatives to Slack. The top two contenders are Telegram and Discord. Would love to hear the pros and cons of what other communities have tried.
It has also come to our attention that our bitcointalk thread and Reddit need some love so I’ll be getting over there over the coming days and weeks. Slack (or its replacement) will likely remain the best place to drop in and get info. Come on over! wetrust.io/slack-invite. Ifwe move to a Slack alternative, we’ll besure to let you know!
I also had the opportunity to attend my first blockchain conference (w00t!). The Blockstack Summit had an amazing lineup of speakers and panelists, a diverse, energetic community, a righteous cause and an infectious buzz in the room. We learned some thangs and made some sweet sweet contacts. My hats off the Ryan and Muneeb from Blockstack for a wonderful event!
Sadly there’s very little to say about Delateral this week, but we have halted our work on implementing the product for at least the next couple months. Currently the resources are more efficiently spent building the Trusted Lending Circles dapp.
The WeTrust Website
We have been working with 99designers to re-design WeTrust’s main website and we would love to hear your feedback. Please cast your vote and write your reviews herehttps://99designs.com/contests/poll/qnlkrk. Furthermore, we are working on the User Management Service so that your WeTrust crowdsale accounts will be integrated with future products seamlessly.
Trusted Lending Circles
We have been working on finishing up the one-(and-a-bit)-click signup flow using message signing, which is now really smooth. It’s our first time using GraphQL and React with Redux, so we’re learning the ropes as we go, taking things slowly and trying to ensure we have a solid review process and development cycle. The next thing we’ll be working on is plugging in the happy flow of creating the Lending Circles.
We will likely be a lot more efficient once we have some experience working with the various parts of the state management, but for now we’re just making sure we follow best practices and get it right. Luckily we have Hoang on hand to help us out when we’re in a state. I’ll show myself out.
Leave us comments here or on our slack channel!
Thank you! The WeTrust Team
WeTrust Community Update - New Office, and New Faces in the Office
It seems like these days, the only constant in the blockchain space is how quickly things change: SegWit, fluctuations in the cryptocurrency market, and plenty of projects with great potential completing successful crowdsales. Like the rest of the blockchain world, WeTrust has been going through some exciting changes that we’d like to share with our dedicated community.
Our New Office, and New Faces in the Office
We’ve recently hired some extremely talented people to help us achieve our mission of bringing financial inclusion to the blockchain. Without further ado, please give a warm WeTrust community welcome to our latest employees:
Yutai is a seasoned UI/UX designer and researcher who is passionate about leveraging analytics data to create the best possible product. His prior experience includes serving as Director of Product Design and User Experience at online payments platform PayWithMyBank, Director of User Experience at online advertising platform AdBrite, and as a co-founder of civic engagement website CrowdCampaign. In addition to his professional work, Yutai is the creative mastermind behind Rental Car Rally. Yutai holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from Queen’s College. With Yutai on our team, WeTrust community members can look forward to more intuitive, easy to use product releases.
Hailey is an incredibly talented graphic designer who has a passion for combining art and technology to beautify and improve quality of life. She previously served as Head of Product Design at Munchee, a visual food review and social networking app for food lovers. Hailey holds a BA in Graphic Design and User Experience from Columbia College in Chicago. We look forward to gracing WeTrust’s products and website with her beautiful designs.
Our latest hires will soon be joined by new Front End Engineers. We have some candidates who are at the offer stage, but we could use some help filling a few final positions. We are actively seeking referrals for these positions, and are offering a Recruiting Bonus of $5,000 (to be paid in TrustCoin) to any member of our community who makes a successful referral. Help us grow our team so that we can bring financial inclusion to the blockchain!
With all of these new hires and to improve our ability to attract folks who prefer to live in SF, we have been looking for an office space within walking distance to the CalTrain line. Given how congested Silicon Valley traffic is these days and the competitive market to attract talent, it is important to be close to public transportation.
Jean Claude Rodriguez-Ferrera
In addition to our new hires, WeTrust is honored to have a new advisor to help us achieve our goals. Jean Claude Rodriguez-Ferrera, the co-founder of peer-to-peer ROSCA app Puddle, has agreed to join us as an advisor. In addition to his work on Puddle, Jean Claude also serves as a Fellow at the Ashoka Foundation, where he works on creating self-sustaining, immigrant-led financial groups. We welcome his knowledge and connections in the Social Lending space.
The high level goal is to release the Trusted Lending Circle dApp by end of this year and we also plan to share the intermediate milestones soon. This Roadmap will cover:
- Feature roadmap and roll out strategy for our Trusted Lending Circles. At the moment, our team is hard at work creating the ideal end to end flow for users of our app. Once this “happy flow” is ready, we will add code to handle special circumstances which require additional validation and error handling. At the same time, we are integrating with uPort to make the process of logging into our ROSCA app as simple as possible. We’ve also set up an environment with testrpc, mongoDb, other app components, and the creation of mock data to allow us to test the app going forward.
- We are in the process of creating a framework that helps connect startups, academics, and enterprises to support research that benefit our mission. We are designing a process where grants can be provided for innovative projects that seek to improve financial inclusion. Projects dealing with financial technology, developmental economics, financial literacy and education, sociological issues in financial inclusion, and promoting awareness of lack of access will all be considered. Projects not directly dealing with financial inclusion, but which provide enabling technologies for the WeTrust mission, will also be given consideration. Please contact [email protected] if you have proposals for research and projects that you believe we should be working with to improve financial inclusion.
Our community is an incredibly valuable part of our product development process. Given our community members’ deep knowledge of blockchain and passion for improving access to financing, any feedback you provide is greatly appreciated. We strive to take your input into account when considering future iterations of our products. That’s why we’d like to ask for your help in completing a quick 9 question survey regarding your participation in prior token crowdsales. In addition to helping us understand the market for future products, the results of the survey will be published in a future blog post.
One last note…
Before we go, we just wanted to mention once again that WeTrust is looking for rockstar Front End Engineers. We’re offering a $5,000 bonus (to be paid in TrustCoins) for any referrals that we hire. Help us build our team of Blockchain Ninjas!
Yours in Financial Inclusion,
The WeTrust Team
WeTrust Community Update - ROSCA Technical Deep Dive & More
Team WeTrust, reporting in with another Community Update. We’ve spent much of the last two weeks hashing out details of our ROSCA product, so much so that we’re including a Technical Deep Dive (details below) to keep you abreast of these changes. At this point, we have hit a feature freeze on our TLC product, and have started in-depth testing of it. Testing will continue in the coming weeks as we deploy our code on a staging server and start investigating the app flow and additional UI changes, leading up to our product launch.
We’ve continued to work on our website revamp, and appreciate everyone’s patience while we work out some final details before we release it. In addition, we have begun creating a KnowledgeBase and Help Center that will help our customers, both individuals and organizations, understand how to best use our products. At a managerial level, we have decided on an aggressive milestones roadmap that charts our deliverables through the end of the year. Take a look at our updated Product Milestones below. We’ll be striving to hit each of the goals laid out in the roadmap, culminating in delivering a Trusted Lending Circles product this December.
In our last update, we described a new “ROSCA for one” product that would encourage people to save and help them build credit in the meantime. Internally, we have taken to calling this product the “Piggy Bank” (though unlike the piggy banks we used to save our coins as kids, this piggy bank can help improve a person’s credit score). We have created a mock-up of this product and have been performing user testing with students at a local community college.
ROSCA Technical Deep Dive
Our Engineering team has been making great progress on creating a more robust Trusted Lending Circle platform. Those of you who have seen our previous technical deep dives know that the unique architecture of the WeTrust platform means we make two calls when the user interacts with the TLC Smart Contract: one to the backend server for static data, and one to the Smart Contract (via MetaMask) for dynamic data. As we made progress towards completing the happy flow, we encountered an issue with dealing with data from two different sources. We are creating a cleaner layer for doing this that will make our code more robust and make it easier for us to add new features in the future.
We’ve also explored uPort integration, and were able to let users log in using the uPort app installed on the user’s smart phones. As we have our own server, we will need to implement the authentication on the backend to protect our users’ privacy. Given uPort is still in alpha, we won’t be releasing this feature on the mainnet anytime soon, but we may introduce it on testnet when it is more stable.
In addition, we’ve heard from talented techies on our Slack that have great ideas on how to code improvements to our product, particularly on the React.js and server side. We are creating a development environment in Docker to let people test out their new code, and creating guidelines and readmes to make it easier for contributors to get started. This is a first step towards our goal of making WeTrust open source.
One last thing…
We want to remind everyone that WeTrust is looking for Front End Engineers to join our team and build products that reduce financial complexity and increase inclusion. The job description is here, and as a reminder, any successful referrals sent our way will earn a $10,000 bounty (to be paid in TrustCoins) and a huge debt of gratitude (and trust, of course) from all of us.
Yours in Financial Inclusion,
The WeTrust Team
WeTrust Community Update - Product Development, Vietnam Software Development Office &More
The weather’s getting a bit cooler, the leaves are starting to change color, and WeTrust is one step closer to releasing our Trusted Lending Circle product. We’re happy to announce that our new website is up and ready, take a look at it here. In the rest of this update, we’ll be talking with a new hire who’s leading an overseas team, and update you on the progress of the technical team and some new UX features that we are adding. Let’s get started!
Introducing Khanh Dao, Head of WeTrust’s Vietnam Software Development Office
With Khanh joining our team, we now have a presence in Saigon. This will allow us to take advantage of the stellar software talent in Vietnam, in addition to having employees residing in a community that has a long history of using Trusted Lending Circles. We interviewed Khanh to learn more about his background, what his team will be working on, and the potential of blockchain based Trusted Lending Circles in Vietnam.
Hi Khanh, could you tell us a bit about your background?
I was born and grew up in Vietnam, a small country in Southeast Asia. I’ve been fascinated by economics and the finance world since high school (after reading the Freakonomics series of books) and once planned on pursuing economics as a major in college. My parents encouraged me to study abroad and see the world, and California seemed like a great destination for me at the time: I heard there was nice weather and good schools. During my first year of college, I discovered a passion for building things, particularly web programming. I realized with programming, I could contribute something valuable which would potentially be used by thousands of people. This feeling changed me and I ended up graduating from University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
During college, I obtained enormous experience in programming, from school projects, hackathons, internships, and even research with professors. I treasured every opportunity to learn to build products and work with a great team.
After college, the thought of having a corporate job did not appeal to me. The job security was not that interesting, and I wanted to see more of the world. I decided to come back to Vietnam, the Third World country that I had grown up in. I did some traveling and ended up working in a rural factory manufacturing kitchen cabinets. I studied the art of carpentry, from choosing materials to producing crafted products. I also leveraged my technical skills to improve the processes used in the factory. It was exciting to learn new things, to push myself through sweat and tears to make good products. This job helped me realize how the world works, how Third World factory workers are working for much less pay, how manufacturing jobs are being outsourced to Vietnam, and how the carpenters making the kitchen cabinets never actually got to see how their products were used. I also participated in helping the owner do some sales and marketing overseas. This job really taught me how to have an entrepreneurial mindset.
After half a year, I got back into the software industry. I hope to continue building products that will be touched by thousands of people, and show that software is really “eating the world”. I did some freelancing, worked on some outsourcing jobs, and contributed to open-source projects. I also co-founded a website that helps local Vietnamese search for clinics, with reviews and ratings (like a Yelp for clinics in Vietnam). I did this until I truly became a startup engineer at a small startup called SalesHood Inc. It was a Software-as-a-Service sales training platform for sales professional founded by a Salesforce ex-executive and a serial entrepreneur CTO. I joined the engineering team at the early stage. I learned the difficulties in running and executing plans in a startup, in constantly satisfying customer needs, building a strong engineering culture, recruiting and mentoring colleagues, and making pragmatic tradeoffs between different engineering approaches. I was fortunate to work closely and be mentored by the CTO. After the company reached a level of scale when the engineering team had more than 20 people (after we secured series A funding), I thought it was time for me to look for a different challenge. I wanted to go somewhere that make impactful products (ideally consumer facing products) and that would push my growth even further.
What aspects of the Trusted Lending Circle will you and your team be focused on?
We’ll be working on building and launching the TLC product to the community. Specifically, we’ll be building web components, ensuring product stability and performance, setting up a scalable server infrastructure, and strengthening engineering processes for reliable delivery coupled with a high quality coding standard.
What made you interested in WeTrust? What aspects of the product are you most excited by?
I’m excited about working on consumer products, given that my background so far has mostly involved customer-centric enterprise products. I’m also excited by the idea of helping unbanked people around the world. Finally, I’m excited about working with this great team. I knew Hoang at UC Berkeley. We often did all-nighter projects together and it’s always been a pleasure to work with him.
Have you or anyone you know had personal experience with Trusted Lending Circles / ROSCAs?
I do not have personal experience with ROSCAs but I’m very familiar with the concept. The ROSCA model is very common in Vietnam. A group of individuals agree to contribute in order to save and borrow from each other. This happens often in offline settings where a group of people trust each other. I have seen my friends pay off debts and finance businesses using ROSCAs. However, this offline model requires tremendous amount of trust among participants. These issues around trust are what I think the WeTrust Trusted Lending Circle platform can resolve.
What’s the status of Blockchain interest and adoption in Vietnam these days?
Blockchain is relatively new in Vietnam. There are local meetups and workshops held by fintech organizations to promote it around here. And there are outsourcing blockchain developers doing jobs for foreign markets like Japan. Because of the talent scarcity, Vietnam is becoming a hub of talent adoption in recent years for many worldwide startups.
Product Development Update
We continue to make great progress on the Trusted Lending Circle, and are on track to deliver our product by the end of the year. At this time, we have issued a feature freeze on the TLC codebase, and any additional changes that we make will be to fix bugs. The last feature we added was a change to where data is stored in our framework that makes our product more scalable and accessible. Hoang is working on deploying the code to a staging server so that we can find and resolve as many bugs as possible. Speaking of bugs, we also have a Jira system up and running for tracking and resolving those pesky critters, in order to deliver a product that everyone can use with confidence.
In parallel, Yutai is working on UX features that make it easy for our users to keep track of the accounting of their ROSCA. Given that the auction mechanisms of some TLC’s will involve keeping track of monthly contributions, fees, and rollover funds from previous contribution rounds, we feel it’s very important to have a simple and clear way of presenting this information to users.
Before we go…
At this point, we have met ALMOST all of our hiring needs, but are always in the market for top talent, and open to adding one more Front End Engineer. The job description is here, and as a reminder, any successful referrals sent our way will earn a $10,000 bounty (to be paid in TrustCoins) and a huge debt of gratitude (and trust, of course) from all of us.
Yours in Financial Inclusion,
The WeTrust Team
WeTrust Community Update - WeTrust out and about , More positions open
Greetings WeTrust fam, it’s time for another Community Update. We’ve made some great progress on the Trusted Lending Circle app, and the Alpha build is now complete! At this point, the product supports all 3 ROSCA formats: Random Flow, Predetermined Flow, and the Bidding Flow. Our work this week has focused on restructuring the way new participants are invited to join a Trusted Lending Circle, a very important part of the process that we want to make sure we get right. At the same time, the team is hard at work testing the Alpha build. We finished our third Team Testing session this week, and are finding and resolving many bugs.
WeTrust out and about
Recently, Mivsam attended the 10th anniversary gala of our non-profit partner, Qualitas of Life in New York and made some exciting progress on our partnership. She met many people, ranging from business people to Federal reserve officers, all following and interested in the blockchain movement and eager to see where WeTrust’s product could be used to benefit immigrants to the US. These efforts with Qualitas are just the start of our ramped up promotional plans as we refine and execute our go-to market strategy, follow our blog to find out what we do next!
In addition, Leon and Damo attended the Crypto-Consciousness Conference in San Francisco. It was a great chance to network with some like-minded people who believe in the power of blockchain, and Damo took the opportunity to meet in person with the rest of the team. Take a look at Damo with the robot Sophia, who made an appearance at the conference!
More positions open
Finally, as our product moves ever closer to a beta launch, we are hiring more people to help us usher our Trusted Lending Circles into the communities they can benefit. To that end, we are hiring a Director of Operations and a Business Operations Strategist, please send any referrals for these positions to [email protected]. At this point, between our teams in the Bay Area and in Vietnam, we have filled our needs for new developers, but we’re always on the lookout for talented techies who want to join our team also, please send referrals our way! As always, we truly appreciate any referrals we get from our wonderful community.
Yours in Financial Inclusion,
The WeTrust Team